Barbara Yastine
Chairman, President and CEO, Ally Bank

Ally Bank offers a remarkable case study in what branding can overcome. Its parent company, the former General Motors Acceptance Corp., is a poster child of the financial crisis and could have buckled under the weight of its bad loans without a bailout. But consumers hardly seem to care about this checkered history.

The bank unit of the rechristened Ally Financial has successfully positioned itself as a competitor that is transparent about fees and wants to give people the most bang for their buck through products like the Raise Your Rate certificate of deposit.

The approach is pleasing customers — 93 percent say they would recommend the bank to others, research shows-and it's paying off in other ways too. From the TNS Choice Award for direct banking to Money Magazine ranking it as the best online bank for a second straight year, the accolades continue to pile up.

Barbara Yastine rightfully claims some credit. A former chief financial officer of Credit Suisse First Boston and a Citigroup auditor and finance executive before that, she joined Ally Financial in May 2010 as chief administrative officer, with oversight of risk, compliance, legal and technology functions, and simultaneously began serving as chairman of the banking unit. She stepped in as interim CEO at Ally Bank in July 2011 and dropped the interim part of the title in March 2012. Since Yastine became chairman, the banking unit has notched consistent gains in market share, deposits (up 26 percent in 2012) and assets. CD retention rates hit an all-time high of 93 percent at yearend 2012.

Now Yastine says her priority is to sustain deposit momentum at the online bank, which remains a funding machine for Ally Financial's auto dealer relationships but also is doing a nice job coming into its own.

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